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Old 05-14-2008, 12:37 PM   #1
astrodad
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Discuss: The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov

Let's talk about the book, "The God's Themselves" by Isaac Asimov.

WARNING: THERE MAY BE SPOILERS IN THIS DISCUSSION!!


Wikipedia Entry for this book


Summary: The Gods Themselves is a 1972 science fiction novel written by Isaac Asimov. It won the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1972 and the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1973.

I am in no way qualified to write up a book review on this book, but having just finished it, I wanted to offer up my opinions, likes, and dislikes of the book.

Overall, it was highly enjoyable. I read it through in about three days on my Sony Reader.

I enjoyed the dialogue of the characters. As always with Isaac Asimov's work there is a tendency for the characters' personalities to mesh and become indistinguishable, particularly during long dialogue sequences. Sometimes this is a problem, but with this book, the characters were all so wonderful that it didn't really matter to me.

As for the premise of the story, I found it fascinating, though I admit that I lack enough scientific study to determine any flaws in the logic of the Electron Pump.

I picked up the book because it was on a "First Contact" list on this forum, but for me, it doesn't really fit the model for a first contact story. There is only minimal interaction between our universe and that of the Para-Universe.

I have only a few gripes and/or questions about the plot:

1. There was no conclusion of the story of the para-characters. What happened with Estwald?

2. Asimov invested an enormous amount of time with Lamont, that I felt cheated at the end of the story. It would have been nice to see him again, to see his reactions to the discovery and acceptance of the flaw in the Pump.

3. There were times when the dialogue was simply unbelievable, in the sense that the characters used words and phrases no human would utter. One that struck me in particular was when Selene was discussing the different basic forces in the universe and she starts rattling off ratios of intensity. He portrays her as an Intuitionist, but this sequence is really off-character. This happens too much to not be noticeable.

I really enjoyed the way he brought back Ben Denison and I'm also glad he was the one that brought about the discovery of the flaw of the Electron Pump.

In a way, the trio of Denison, Selene, and Lamont was a parallel to the triad family of Odeen, Dua, and Tritt. The rational mind of Denison is comparable to the likeness of Odeen, Dua and Selent are both "feelers" (Dua an Emotional and Selene an Intuitionist), and Lamont acted like a much more flamboyant and hot tempered version of Tritt.

It was a great read, and I picked up a few new vocabulary words (to my wife's dismay).

Overall I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

What did you think of the book? Let us know!

Last edited by astrodad; 05-14-2008 at 01:58 PM.
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Old 05-14-2008, 01:00 PM   #2
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Great idea to start this thread.

I've loved this book for 2 decades now. I have both the book and the award winning short story upon which it was based. I was raised in the later years of the civil rights struggles in Birmingham, Ala. In our city today, we are very conscious of race relations because of our embarrassing history. In my late teens when I first read this book, the theme of teamwork and brotherhood resonated with my maturing sense of how I wanted to view myself and my society. The character descriptions in the book are almost irrelevant, because it is the dialogue that really mattered most to me.
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Old 05-14-2008, 01:56 PM   #3
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I can see where you're coming from. For me, the relationship between the Earthies and the Lunies was really interesting. The theme of identity permeated the story. Dua's struggle to find and reconcile her dueling personalities, and then realizing that her identity was made perfect in the union of the triad. Same thing for Selene and Denison. They discovered their true identities in each other, not as Lunies or Earthies, or as experimentalist and Intuitionist, bur rather, together in love.

In the case of the triad, and Denison and Selene, the true path to understanding one's self is in the union to another. That's a very Trinitarian concept for a science fiction story, but I might be over reaching.
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Old 05-14-2008, 02:56 PM   #4
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I remember this book mostly because I thought the description of working scientists and the environment they work in were believable and mostly correct.
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:16 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tompe View Post
I remember this book mostly because I thought the description of working scientists and the environment they work in were believable and mostly correct.
Would you care to comment on which aspects were accurate? As a non-scientist, that information would be interesting.
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:50 PM   #6
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Would you care to comment on which aspects were accurate? As a non-scientist, that information would be interesting.
The thing about office politics and that a lot of time is spent applying for money and so on. And it was not the lonely scientist that was the hero if I remember correctly. A lot of books seems to have a glorified view about what it means to work as a scientist.

Another of the the few older books that have realistic description of scientific work is Timescape by Gregory Benford.
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Old 05-14-2008, 09:17 PM   #7
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Thanks tompe. I guess it's similar to some of the tiger IT teams I have worked on where we had to get in and solve a tough problem in a short amount of time. One person generally has the inspiration, but it's the team that solves the issue.
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Old 05-31-2008, 11:45 AM   #8
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Having already purchased, enjoyed (and thoroughly misplaced) two paperback copies of this book, I felt morally justified downloading a textfile version from truly-free. This book rewards re-reading and reflecting on it, and definitely has a distinct tie-in to race relations.
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:41 PM   #9
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What is Truly Free? I went to their site but it was down.
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